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China confident on growth, vice-premier tells forum

By Wang Mingjie in Davos, Switzerland | China Daily | Updated: 2023-01-17 23:33
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Vice-Premier Liu He speaks during a session of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday. [Photo/Agencies]

Davos: Liu's attendance helps build cooperation

Vice-Premier Liu He said on Tuesday that China is confident growth will likely return to its normal trend this year and the country's economy will "see a significant improvement".

Delivering a speech to the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Liu called for international cooperation, a global response to climate change and making economic development the "primary and central task".

"In 2023, we will strive to maintain reasonable economic growth, and keep prices and jobs stable," Liu said.

"More focus will be placed on expanding domestic demand, keeping supply chains stable, supporting the private sector, reforming the State-owned enterprises, attracting foreign investment and preventing economic and financial risks."

The vice-premier stressed that China will continue to promote all-around opening-up.

"Opening-up, as a basic State policy, is a catalyst for reform and development, and a key driver of economic progress in China. China's door to the world will only open wider."

Liu also addressed issues relating to China's real estate sector, which he said is still a pillar for the nation's economy and accounts for nearly 40 percent of bank lending, 50 percent of overall local government fiscal resources and 60 percent of urban household assets.

Starting in the second half of 2021, China experienced a rapid decline in property prices and home sales. Since then, Liu said with a "blood transfusion" to the property industry, supply and demand in the market have seen noticeable improvements.

In regard to climate change, Liu reiterated that "China will honor its commitments to the international community, push for global cooperation on climate change, work with other countries to tackle the serious challenges posed by climate change and build a community with a shared future for mankind".

Liu also mentioned Beijing's recent optimization of its COVID-19 policy, saying the overall situation in China was steady. He added that 5 billion trips are expected to be made during the Chinese New Year holiday starting on Saturday.

Jeremy Jurgens, managing director of World Economic Forum, who listened to Liu's speech, said: "If you look back to when the vice-premier was last here in 2018, what you see is, despite the crisis, there is a continuation of the important underlying policies.

"Liu also stated that mutual understanding is the prerequisite for cooperation. This is more easily done in person than done digitally. I think that is an important signal that he personally came and met with other world leaders, and that helps build the foundations for enhancing cooperation we need today," Jurgens added.

John Beirne, vice-chair of research at think tank Asian Development Bank Institute, said, "As well as providing a much-welcomed upbeat assessment of the economic outlook for China, Liu explained how financial stability risks in the property sector are being managed.

"In addition, Liu's comments on the importance of international cooperation and policy coordination are to be commended, notably in respect of China's commitment to global action on tackling climate change."

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